View Full Version : Supply Problems?
my 3.5 month old has recently started sleeping through the night where her last feed at night was around 7pm and she would wake up until 630 - 730am ish which was a godsend but then after nearly 2 weeks of this she started waking up earlier and earlier and now her last feed at night is still around 7pm ish but then she was getting up at 330am. I had a feeling that my breast supply wasn't enough for her as the past few days she was really cranky when I took her off the boob after 45 minutes. During the day I try and feed her every 3 hours and no more unless she is fast asleep which is rare but some of the feeds are every 2.5 hours apart especially if I have just fed her around 5pm, there is no way she can last until 8pm without throwing a tantrum! Just as a test last night I thought we would give her a formula bottle and she went through 180ml non stop and had a lovely looking belly afterwards but she slept through until 530.
Has anyone else had a issue similar to this? I don't mind waking up to feed her in the wee hours of the morning but my concern is that after say 2 hours from the last feed that I would have enough supply (especially not 180 ml and i tried to express and could only manage 70ml!). Plus over the past few weeks she has only put on 40gm a week - is that enough??
I'm not an expert, but if you baby is waking more frequently I would feed her first. Your supply is always lowest in the afternoon and evening and perhaps she is now not getting enough then. If she feeds a bit more frequently for a few days it will boost your supply and then you may find that she goes back to her normal pattern. It is actually very common to have a fully breast fed baby wake once or even twice at night for feeds because they are genuinely hungry. DD1 ALWAYS woke once at night for a feed. DD2 went through about a month of sleeping through before she started waking again for a feed. It is also quite common to have a few days of frequent feeding due to growth spurts (and these aren't necessarily evident by weight gain).
The weight gain does sound a little low, but if its only bee a few weeks, its no cause for concern yet. Our DD1 "failed to thrive" so I was shown a few breast feeding tips to make her feeds more efficient (she also used to cry when I took her off). After implementing the tips, her weight gains became tolerable - but were never the average 170g/week.
The trap you may fall into with offering a bottle of formula in the evening is that if you don't express, your supply will continue to fall. Expressing is not as efficient as having your baby feeding (which you've discovered when you could only express of 70 mL, your baby would have gotten more). The other trap is that some babies prefer the bottle to the breast, as it is easier for them and they may then refuse the breast. I would be cautious with the formula unless you are prepared to give breast feeding away. If you are passionate about continuing breast feeding, see your GP and/or lactation consultant to see if there are other things you should try before simply giving formula.
Best of luck (and investigate all your options)
I had terrible trouble breastfeeding, as my son was born 7 weeks early (and my milk supply was dissappearing) and also found out later on that he had what they call "low tone".
I went to a lactation consultant at the Hills Private Hospital Baulkham Hills, Sydney and this is what they told me to do, as my son was only gaining approx 60grams per week.
PS I am reading the notes the lactation consultant wrote out for me...
* They looked at the way my son was attaching. Which we were not doing properly, and then they showed me several ways of getting him on.
Ask your nurse to check if you are attaching properly. Now this means watching you and baby for a FULL feed not just watching you attach the baby on which a lot of them are guilty of doing.
* They told me NOT to compensate with formula, I needed to increase my breastmilk supply.
* The hospital put me on a prescription medicine called "Motilium" This is used for mothers who are adopting a new born baby and wish to breastfeed, as this drug is known to increase milk supply. I really think this is worth looking into. However, go to a good doctor as not many know about it. If you have any problems let me know and I could try email you some more data on it if you like.
* Keep feeds up to atleast 8 per 24 hours. Mum to express own milk after feeds were possilbe approx 5 mins per side and give baby the expressed milk before bed time. (to increase supply). Also when expressing watch them play or think about the baby as this will bring more of a let down in. (Remember how often you feed will change as baby becomes more efficent at sucking).
* Feeding should take no longer than 10-15mins per side.
They also told me to remember that its like learning something new. It takes time and practice. If you are really keen to breastfeed, keeping trying, it doesn't come easy to every one. I had lots of tears durning the day and night. But when we finally got the hang of it, I was so proud of myself and my son. But I have to be honest, without the support of my lactation consultant and my husband it would have been very easy to give up and give him formula.
Let me know how you go.
All the best
I guess I should give the missing information regarding my scenario. I have spent a few weeks at baby boot campt to sort out her unsettled and sleeping issues and I had full access to lactation consultant and nurses during this time. Positioning and everything is fine and I have a good strong flow but the past few weeks have bee very stressful on me as my father announced he was leaving my mum after 30 years of marriage to be with a younger woman (yes, midlife crisis!) so I have had to be the counsellor for everyone in my family and watching a family fall apart and family members ending up in hospital is very stressful and draining and obviously DD picks up on these things and an have a grumpy day but I manage to put that aside and she gets my 100% attention but I think that with all the stress, my supply has dropped down.
I had full intention to breastfeed until at least 6 months but from 4.5 months onwards i was going to drop one feed a day and substitute with formula and then at the 6 months mark only breast feed at morning and night so she is getting some breast milk as some is still better than none!
My concern is that she isn't getting enough at this stage where I am under a lot of strain and I don't want her to suffer!
I fully breast fed my son for the first 6 months of his life, and he really had no rhyme or reason to his feedings.
There were times when he was on the boob CONSTANTLY, and I'm sure he was going through a growth spurt.
I always demand fed, NEVER looked at the clock, as I knew that the very best thing for building a great supply, especially in the first 4 or 5 months, was to keep the baby at the breast as much as possible, because the more they are stimulating your nipples, the more milk your body is going to produce.
There definitely were times when I thought to myself, he is just not getting a drop, as he had just emptied me out only half an hour before.
But the thing is, there is also a mechanism in babies where they love to comfort suck, and this is called non-nutritive sucking, but the biological bonus to it, is that it helps to build your milk supply.
If you really want to build supply, avoid supplementing with ANYTHING - even water, just offer the breast as often as you possibly can, and supply catches up VERY quickly, within a matter of hours.
All the best
I suggest that you contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association as they have many great tips and advice on such matters. Their website is: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au
Additionally, if your baby is sleeping through, perhaps try cluster feeding in the early evening as this will stimulate your supply. Remember, the more you feed the more milk you make. Supply works on stimulation. My daughter slept through from 8 weeks, and I cluster fed in the early evenings and this worked well. I have successfully breastfed for over 12 months. Also, as amazing as it sounds, breastfeeding in stressful situations can actually be good. It stimulates the hormone called Prolactin and this can relax you. Being under stress does not actually effect your supply (that is one of those great myths), so don't panic about this too much.
But contact the ABA and they will be able to give you some great advice. Your question is one of those frequently asked, so there will be heaps of info available either on the Breastfeeding Information Section accessed from the Index on the top menu bar or from the Forums or from the Breastfeeding Counsellors. It is actually a concern that is easliy fixed.
Also, in regards to your weigh gain question, your baby sounds fine. She is gaining. Also, breastfed babies gain weight differently to formula fed babies. So, the weight gain will be slilghtly different to what the Growth charts say. These Growth Charts are actually quite out of date and are based on predominently formula fed babies. The World Health Organisation has been reviewing these and new ones are due out soon. Again, the ABA will be able to help you with this.
All the best & I hope things work out for you!
Hi Taylas Mum
I've been reading recently about the affects of stressful situations on breastfeeding mums (recent tsunami in fact) and there appears to be no evidence that stress affects a breastfeeding woman's supply. So it shouldn't be your supply that's the problem, its more likely to be a growth spurt, or more distractable baby (or you). So try not to worry on that count, but try to make feeds as calming and non distracting as possible (I know its MUCH more easily said than done).
Dont assume you dont have enough milk because she is not settling. Babys are very sensitive to mummy she may just be picking up on your stress and also babys tend to change sleeping patterns once or twice during the first 6 months. This may be your babys time. When you feed does she swollow continuously? Dribble milk out of the side of her mouth? If so she is getting enough. If you are still not sure try expressing the same amount as you would give her in a bottle and see if she settles as she would after a formular bottle. Also dont assume because your breasts dont feel full or even half full that there is no milk.
In the long run if it is less stressful for you both to go to bottle then just do it, dont let these wellmeaning brest is best people bully you into doing something that may not be best for you both. I am a mum of four my first three babys I had no end of trouble feeding mostly having to give up to bottle by 3-4 months. However my last baby God has blessed me with an overflow. I still wonder sometimes if I have enough for her. But she is not loosing weight (Like my others did) infact she is a plump little thing. If you stick it out or go to bottle baby has had the best till now and that is what counts. Going to bottle can be an emotional step. Make sure you have good support and lots of cuddles from loved ones when you do.
I hope all goes well for you
My prayers are with you I know how you feel
Sorry I forgot to say that the fact that she is putting on weight is excellent dont worry till she looses weight and I ofter cant experss more then 50-100mils at a time either just express as much as you can and freeze it then add to it till you have a full bottle. The more she drinks and you express the more you will make. It can be in the freezer for up to 3 months. So it wont waste.
My daughter was born 10 weeks early. For some reason I could not produce enough milk. I continued to express every 3 hours and breastfed her when I could at the hospital. But I just could not get enough milk out. I was only getting atleast 50ml every time. My lactation consultant advised me to see my doctor and get a perscription for maxalon as it increases milk supply. After 2 days of taking the tablets my breast milk doubled to 80-100ml, but it still wasn't enough as it would vary. The nurses would have to use formular at night as they would run out of my milk. When she finally got to come home after 8 weeks and persistantly expressing hoping that my supply would increase, to no avail at 3am in the morning she was crying and starving as I could not produce milk for her. This made me so upsett and wondering how am I going to feed her at 3am when all shops are closed. Luckily my husband realised the Woolworths petrol station would be open and sell formular. Ever since then I gave up breastfeeding and stuck to formular. It has made her put on heaps of weight and she is a healthy perfect baby. I really wanted to breastfeed but I knew she was doing much better on the formular so I did not get upset and accepted that I couldn't breastfeed.
Hey there, My 10 week old bub was also `failure to thrive' when he was four weeks, only putting on 40 gms a week! A great GP and a lactation consultant later, I was feeding him every three hours, then expressing then offering formula or EBM. I was also on Motilium and after five days my supply was up. He is very content now and has put on a whopping 2kg in 6 weeks. I have been able to fully breastfeed since he was nine weeks and I feed whenever he seems interested, therefore I always have good supply. He usually only wakes once through the night for a quick feed sleeping, between 5-7 hrs at a time at night.
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